An unusual problem regarding fasting

Hi, I’m having an unusual problem regarding fasting. For some reason or another, I was feeling especially sinful/gluttonous so I made a promise to God to fast on Monday (I know one shouldn’t make promises to God because it puts oneself at risk of committing mortal sin, but I have a horrible habit of doing this anyway). Anyhow, so on Monday I fasted (ie one smallish meal) but then I thought, “That wasn’t that hard, God deserves more” so then I promised to fast on Tuesday (one normal meal, with a few extra servings of green beans, but I didn’t put any dressing on my salad so I guess it evens out). And then Tuesday afternoon I started worrying I’d inadvertently promise to overeat, which would cause me to gain weight (I’m a teenage girl if you can’t already tell :wink: so I promised to fast the following day (today- one pop-tart this morning and normal meal for dinner) This morning as I was leaving for school, my dad complemented me on how great I looked, and I figured I must’ve somehow lost weight in the last two days, though if I’d had it would’ve been a microscopic TEENY amount, and nothing serious. Anyhow, so then I promised to fast tomorrow because my dad and I have a very strained relationship and I’m willing to go to extremes to impress him. Yah…it seems I’ve become addicted to fasting. I don’t really mind, because losing a few pounds is always welcome, but I’m worried I’m fasting more for my own figure than the Glory of God. I’m also kind of stressed I won’t be able to stop promising fasting to God. Opinions???

Thanks :slight_smile:

Be careful. Fasting is good if you have good self-control, but eating disorders sneak up on you, and they can really mess you up. Trust me, I know. And the way you remember and exactly describe everything you’ve been eating: that is NOT a good sign. You probably don’t have any problems yet, but that is a very bad place to start.

Also, since you’re a teenaged girl, you probably still have some more growing/developing to do, so you probably shouldn’t be fasting much at all. Definitely not to impress your dad- that is a very bad reason to fast. Find other ways to impress your dad.

What you must definitely do first is talk to your confessor before undertaking significant penances. I doubt he will recommend that you fast.

All the best! :thumbsup:

The last thing a teenage girl should be doing is extra fasting. Your body needs good nutrition at this time more than any other time in your life. So many girls today have eating disorders and body image issues. Avoid like the plague anything that could lead to those issues.

Try both getting the nutrients you need, even if that is less, and balancing it by working out, if your school has a gym. Then you don’t have to worry about any weight you put on if its muscle.

Only if you are overweight (which is something your doctor can tell you). A normal weight teenager who is exercising more needs more energy, not the same or less, to do the exercise as well as other daily activities. And more, not the same or less, nutrients to build up muscle as well as cope with natural growing processes.

This is a classic example of how without spiritual guidance we often choose exactly the wrong ascetic practices. Someone with an eating disorder chooses fasting, someone with antisocial tendencies devotes himself to silence, etc.

I’m not a qualified spiritual director but I would recommend getting one, and short of that keeping in mind this danger.

Also, if I may venture another suggestion, this habit of making promises to God sounds unhealthy, but it also sounds like you know that.

One doesn’t fast “to” God.

Whenever you are making a sacrifice, ask yourself, “does this bring me closer to God?” In your case, it sounds like fasting is more of a temptation than an attempt to grow close to God.

If you are truly doubtful, perhaps you should talk to a priest about this in confession.

This is not going to work in the long run. Actually fasting is the worst way to lose weight. Your body goes into a starvation mode and stops metabolizing food properly. When you start eating again, it will immediately turn the calories to fat and you will gain more weight than you lost fasting. Don’t use fasting as a way to weight loss.

I would suggest taking the advice of the therapist in this video.

One does “promis[e] … to God,” though, which is the correct reading of the sentence in the OP.

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